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UN grants IFMA Foundation special consultative status as an NGO to promote sustainable development

The United Nations (UN) has granted the nonprofit IFMA Foundation special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as a nongovernmental organization (NGO). This allows the Foundation to participate in the work of the United Nations — sharing ideas and information; forming beneficial partnerships with governments, the private sector and civil society; elevating awareness and advancement of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and collaborating with UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) NGOs in the built environment.

As an NGO, the Foundation is invited to attend ECOSOC and subsidiary group meetings and panel discussions, share advice and early warnings, and seek opportunities to provide expertise and representation on behalf of facility management (FM) — a US$1 trillion industry with more than 25 million practitioners worldwide.

ECOSOC is responsible for the direction and coordination of the UN’s economic, social, humanitarian and cultural activities, serving as a central forum for international discussion among policymakers, parliamentarians, academics, foundations, businesses, youth and NGOs on economic and social issues. Through FM Accredited Degree Programs — for which the IFMA Foundation serves as the accrediting body, together with ABET — a constituency of global industry experts will provide insight and support to the Council.

Generally defined as nonprofit organizations independent from government influence, NGOs are typically value-based organizations that depend, in whole or in part, on charitable donations and voluntary service. Issues addressed by NGOs range from human rights and community development to environmental protection and disaster relief. NGOs’ work with the UN includes information dissemination, awareness raising, development education, policy advocacy, joint operational projects and technical expertise.

UN Sustainable Development Goals
UN Sustainable Development Goals. Image courtesy of the UN.

Because our mission and our Global Workforce Initiative (GWI) both address the three pillars of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental — the IFMA Foundation is uniquely positioned to make a meaningful contribution to the work of ECOSOC. Facility management is one of the few professions that can impact all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability skills will remain essential for FMs in the foreseeable future, and it is the Foundation’s belief that a better prepared workforce ensures a sustainable future not only for the FM industry, but the global economy and the planet itself supporting the UN’s mission to “achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

Diane Levine, IFMA Foundation executive director

In addition to a focus on training today’s youth and incumbent workers for tomorrow’s business challenges, the IFMA Foundation works closely with local governments, multinational corporations, small-to medium-sized businesses, and community-based organizations to leverage the strengths of the corporate and government sectors on behalf of FM for social good.

Established in 1990 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and separate entity from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), the IFMA Foundation works for the public good to promote priority research and educational opportunities for the advancement of facilities management. The IFMA Foundation is supported by the generosity of the FM and built environment community including IFMA members, chapters, councils, corporate sponsors and private contributors who share the belief that education and research improve the facility management profession.

Founded in 1980, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is a global association for FM professionals. Supporting more than 22,000 members in 135 countries, IFMA’s Vision is to lead the future of the built environment to make the world a better place. IFMA is a key contributor to the development of international FM standards and works with decision makers to inform FM-related policy. IFMA provides career resources and continuing education, offers three industry-respected credentials, maintains a vast repository of FM-related online content, and hosts year-round global events.